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The Robin Lopez 2009 - 10 Report Card

Fropez went from dud to stud this season.
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Fropez went from dud to stud this season. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Welcome to the 6th installment of the 2009-10 Phoenix Suns player report cards. We're still using the A-F system, but to make it a bit more definitive we have eliminated plus or minuses...
Today we look at Robin Lopez.

Robin Lopez. Where do you begin when talking about the season Robin Lopez had? I guess the clear place to start would be the, not the beginning of the season but the beginning of Robin Lopez as we now know him. It all started during an Alvin Gentry interview after practice. It wasn't anything Gentry said or did but rather an event that occured as the cameras were rolling. As a frustrated Lopez was leaving the court the door leading to the locker room just happened to be sitting in the wrong place at the wrong time and all of Lopez's rage in that moment became focused on that door...CRASH! The door was sent to hell and Robin was sent to timeout.

See up to that point Lopez was who we thought he was. Like the Toys 'R' Us song says, Robin just didn't want to grow up. He wanted to continue to live in a world full of comic books, candy and fun. A world where he was free to throw 'temper tantrums' any time things didn't go his way. Up to that point his childish behavior earned him spotty minutes as he was prone to foul (A LOT), get frustrated, frustrate his coach and teammates and showed little ambition on the offensive end of the floor. He was immature and unreliable. If the season had ended before the crash, he would definitely be getting a D from me.

But the season didn't end and in the moment that glass was shattering all around him (okay it was probably later after a stern scolding from several people but that doesn't make for as good of a story) something happened. Here's how I picture the scene:

ROBIN slams door with amazing force causing the glass to shatter.

WIDE SHOT: Extreme slow motion shot of glass shattering all around Robin

ZOOM (slow) in from WIDE SHOT to extreme CLOSE UP focused on Robin's eyes

ROBIN (inner dialogue): Man I can't do this anymore! I'm not helping my team and I'm definitely not helping myself acting this way. It's time for me to grow up and become a man!

ZOOM (fast) back out to WIDE SHOT and resume actual speed as glass falls to the floor


Okay, I'm not a screen writer (and have absolutely no idea if that's how you even write a script but you get the point. After the crash Robin Lopez emerged a completely different man and ball player. He learned to channel his rage and not pick up stupid fouls for the sake of hitting somebody. He showed enough for Gentry to place him into the starting lineup and quickly became a big part of the Suns new found ability to get stops in crucial moments of close games (contrary to popular belief, I don't think the Suns overall defense was better this year than in years past but their ability to get these stops when they counted was). Not only did he bring it on the defensive end but his offensive game suddenly appeared. Out of nowhere he was decisive with the ball in the post and competent with his midrange jumper.

If it weren't for Lopez's epiphony who knows if the Suns would have had the season they had. Could they have been successful playing Frye at the Center position the entire year? Sure but it would have been a lot tougher without having Lopez's physical presence inside. Truth is Robin Lopez played a HUGE part in the Suns amazing run after the All-Star break. He came into his own as a basketball player and showed a lot of maturity and poise (you know, for the most part). While he does have a lot to work on (he REALLY needs to work on moving the ball when they swing it to him at the top of the key - I watched AK47 pick him apart when we played Utah towards the end of the season) he was very solid for us and a big reason we surprised so many experts with our success.

So here's the tricky part, had he played the way he did in the second half of the season throughout the whole year he would have easily gotten an A from me. But I can't just ignore the part of the season where he was nowhere near that know, where just a few paragraphs up I gave him a D. To me, with the season we had and the part he played, I'm giving him a very solid B. Hopefully he will continue his growth and maturation this summer and come back hungry and ready for more next season...well, either that or a door finds itself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Oh, and for those of you that need stats, here are Lopez's from this past season:

2009 Suns 51 0 3.4 5.7 58.8 0 0 0 1.7 2.5 70.4 2 2.8 4.9 .100 .800 .200 1 0 8.4

Grade: B

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